Sunday, 6 July 2008

Poor at higher risk of death: study

New research shows that lower socioeconomic status is a major factor in the long-term survival of people who have spent time in hospital with a critical illness.

The study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, analysed 15,000 patients who had been admitted to intensive care units in Western Australia.

Doctor Kwok Ho from Royal Perth Hospital says the report found being poor was the single biggest factor in determining whether patients would survive after their release from hospital.

He says lower socioeconomic status was more of a detrimental influence on the outcome than many other factors, including age.

He said one explanation could be because that group could not afford to get specialist medical care.

But he says other lifestyle factors such as smoking or possible drug use might also be to blame, and more should be done to improve the long-term outcomes of patients.

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